Comet of the Hour!

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  • Member since
    October, 2007
Comet of the Hour!
Posted by Aratus on Saturday, November 30, 2013 4:54 PM

Inspired by reports on Comet Lovejoy here on the forum, and a total disinterest in the 'Comet of the Century', I decided that I was going to see this comet at least.    Lovejoy was about 18 degrees above the Northwestern horizon.  

I set up the telescope before it got dark and waited for the stars I needed to fix the position of the comet to appear.    While waiting I did a Solar System align on Venus, and took a look at its bright, thick crescent.  

Eventually the stars of Boötes appeared with Arcturus very low on the horizon.     The last 2 stars of the handle of the Plough/Dipper point to Seginus or gamma Boötis.   Lovejoy was between that star and Nekkar or beta Boötis, the 'top star' of the constellation.    I found it in binoculars straight away.   It is lovely fuzzy with a greenish tinge, and a faint tail about a degree across.   Within the tail was a thin brighter spike.  The tail itself had very distinct edges.

I used the f6.3 focal reducer, and aligned the telescope on Polaris and Altair, and easily found the comet.   In the telescope it was a grey fuzzy with a central core slightly to one side.  It was about 14 ' across.    I fixed the Canon to the telescope an did about 20 x 30s exposures with a 135mm lens giving the following image when stacked, and cropped.

 

 photo Lovejoy30_11_13_zpsb75b5d1f.jpg

On 1st December, Lovejoy will be right next to Nekkar.  Just bear in mind that unless you live at a higher latitude than 40 degrees, Lovejoy won't rise until the early hours of the morning.   For an evening observation, on this occasion, the higher the latitude, the better.

Chocky the cat spent most of her time climbing a tree where she knows several pigeons roost.  On this occasion, however, they put up a fight, and she was the one to run off.   That is unusual.  Perhaps there was something bigger in the tree than a pigeon!!   Question

Aratus

Location:  North West Devon, UK

-------------------------------------------------

Celestron Nexstar8i (8" SCT).

Celestron Skymaster binoculars 15x70

Other:0.63 & 0.33 correctors. X2 & X4 barlow.

Imagers: Meade DSI & Celestron NexImage.  Canon EOS 550D

 

 

  • Member since
    November, 2012
Posted by MooseMan01 on Saturday, November 30, 2013 8:28 PM

Wow, very nice Aratus!  Well done.

  • Member since
    December, 2005
Posted by Oliver Tunnah on Sunday, December 01, 2013 7:35 AM

Good report.

You've inspired me to write up a report on my adventures on Fri/Sat.

  • Member since
    October, 2007
Posted by Aratus on Sunday, December 01, 2013 4:02 PM

Sometimes it takes a bit of effort to get everything out there, and stand around in the cold for a few hours, but these are some wonderful objects.    The coma of Lovejoy through the telescope had a subtle texture with faint radial features coming out of the nucleus.   It is times like that when you wish for a much bigger telescope.

Aratus

Location:  North West Devon, UK

-------------------------------------------------

Celestron Nexstar8i (8" SCT).

Celestron Skymaster binoculars 15x70

Other:0.63 & 0.33 correctors. X2 & X4 barlow.

Imagers: Meade DSI & Celestron NexImage.  Canon EOS 550D

 

 

  • Member since
    October, 2007
Posted by Aratus on Monday, December 02, 2013 3:22 PM

Another stack of the same set of images - this time for the tail.   Negative image of course.

 

 photo Lovejoy2_zpse443062b.jpg

This shows up well, the kind of detail I saw in the binoculars. 

Comet Lovejoy is now to the left (west) of Nekkar in the evening, and easy to spot.

For those who need to see it in the morning, it is due south of Nekkar, and higher in the sky.

Aratus

Location:  North West Devon, UK

-------------------------------------------------

Celestron Nexstar8i (8" SCT).

Celestron Skymaster binoculars 15x70

Other:0.63 & 0.33 correctors. X2 & X4 barlow.

Imagers: Meade DSI & Celestron NexImage.  Canon EOS 550D

 

 

  • Member since
    April, 2012
  • From: North Carolina east coast USA
Posted by stepping beyond on Thursday, December 05, 2013 8:47 AM

Impressive captures Aratus, well done.

  • Member since
    November, 2009
Posted by Poppa Chris on Thursday, December 05, 2013 10:58 AM

Great job, Aratus.  I have yet to see Lovejoy.  I spent my time in numerous vain attempts at ISON.

One thing I have learned is to RUN, not walk, away from any comet that is so heavily hyped...  They all seem to be flops.  LAt one I had any decent views of was Panstarrs.

---Poppa Chris---

Denham Springs, Louisiana USA

"Second star to the right - Then straight on until morning!" - Peter Pan

Celestron CPC1100GPS (XLT) - 279mm aperature, 2800mm Focal length. (f10) Celestron Ultima LX (70deg AFOV) Eyepieces 32mm thru 5mm, Canon EOS Rebel T2i DSLR, Backyard EOS imaging software, Orion Star Shoot Planetary Imager IV, Celestron Skymaster 15x70 binoculars

 

  • Member since
    October, 2007
Posted by Aratus on Thursday, December 05, 2013 2:47 PM

I'm turning into a great big cynic.  You can argue that I shouldn't, but disappointment isn't good for the soul.   I have very low expectations of comets going back to my experience with Kohoutek in 1973.   This way I can occasionally be surprised, but never disappointed.  (in theory).   

I think I rank Lovejoy as a mild surprise!  Smile

It is good to share the observation with you all.

Lovejoy is half way between Bootes and Hercules at the moment.

 

Aratus

Location:  North West Devon, UK

-------------------------------------------------

Celestron Nexstar8i (8" SCT).

Celestron Skymaster binoculars 15x70

Other:0.63 & 0.33 correctors. X2 & X4 barlow.

Imagers: Meade DSI & Celestron NexImage.  Canon EOS 550D

 

 

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